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  #151   Report Bad Post  
Old 06-03-2007, 08:57 PM
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Re: Civil War Portraits - The Series

Thanks Midge. It will probably look better tomorrow which is why it is never a good idea to be impulsive with these. I don't know what is causing that annoying plane problem ... perhaps it's the lack of a forehead which could pull it all back into the correct alignment. Last time I had gone about this far but never have I had the forehead in place. Maybe that should be the next move with this.

Thank you Pierre. I do tend to approach drawing a bit differently than most. Generally it's because I haven't the patience to do an entire line drawing. I like to pretty much just sit down and go. Once I've got something recognizable done, I'm happy to spend as much time as I need ... Shading is really what is important to me ... thank you for the kind words.

Incidentally, Pierre ... the hyperlink in your signature has a typo in it that gives an error.

Thanks for looking,
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Old 06-03-2007, 10:19 PM
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Re: Civil War Portraits - The Series

Oh no Ken...I was just comparing the photo crop with your drawing on line #143 and was agreeing Elizabeth..and who knows about the odd shaped iris. I was going to say it would probably look ok after a lot of shading.........and then the next thing I know..you are going to scrap it? Is there any way you can go back a step and then pour the coal to the shading? I think the shading might have made up for some of the problem, but then again I am not looking at the drawing nor have I been staring at it for hours either.....twice.

I do believe though that you will get it right one way or another and I hope you can use this view.
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Old 06-04-2007, 07:45 AM
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Re: Civil War Portraits - The Series

Thanks Steve. It's the next day and I have relaxed a bit about it. Since this is exactly the same place I found myself in last time I scrapped it and I have drawn about the same amount (and SAME areas!), I'm thinking it may be an illusion caused by unusual facial proportions. In thinking about it, perhaps drawing the forehead will help pull that side of the face back around ... after all, the forehead is about half the face and therefore a powerful shape. So I will go that route next and see if it helps. After that I'll decide whether or not to keep it.

This is a very good quality photo for that era and one I initially thought would be good to draw. HA! Turns out to be the most difficult portrait I've ever tried. If I can't get it right, I'll move on to something else - after all, two failures in a row is hard on an ego. Sigh.

Thanks for looking,
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Old 06-04-2007, 08:31 AM
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Re: Civil War Portraits - The Series

Hi Ken,

I hope you don't scrap this and it is certainly not a failure. I feel bad because I made suggestions. I won't do that again as I feel partially responsible

I'm looking forward to seeing the forehead added and hope that it does the trick. I have to say though, it looks fine to me....to all of us. I'm glad this is looking not as hopeless to you this morning. Please try not to be so hard on yourself.

Elizabeth
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Old 06-04-2007, 10:58 AM
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Re: Civil War Portraits - The Series

Hi Ken, it would be such a shame if you were to give up on this!
Maybe if you do more of the surrounding area as well as the forehead, it might help you find your way with that eye.
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Old 06-07-2007, 12:28 PM
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Re: Civil War Portraits - The Series

Thanks for the support Jan. After looking at this now for another week I think it can be saved. Actually ... it's just about spot on for the areas done. That far cheek is SO small but that's the way it is but it just gives an odd illusion. I think once I get more done things may come back together OK.

Thanks for stopping by
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Old 06-07-2007, 07:23 PM
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Re: Civil War Portraits - The Series

I'm glad that you've decided to carry on with this, I have every faith in you that you'll get it right in the end
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Old 06-07-2007, 07:52 PM
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Re: Civil War Portraits - The Series

Quote:
Originally Posted by edtree
I hope you don't scrap this and it is certainly not a failure. I feel bad because I made suggestions. I won't do that again as I feel partially responsible
Nonsense, Elizabeth. It is up to ME to act on a suggestion .. and I am always open to other eyes. I get to staring at a small area of a portrait for 4 hours and it's quite possible that I'll miss something. So keep on making suggestions ... tell me what you see.

Quote:
I'm looking forward to seeing the forehead added and hope that it does the trick. I have to say though, it looks fine to me....to all of us. I'm glad this is looking not as hopeless to you this morning. Please try not to be so hard on yourself.Elizabeth
But if I'm not hard on myself, who will be? I expect perfection from myself .. (I've never reached it but I'll never admit that). In all seriousness, I DO expect a lot of myself but only because I know what I'm capable of doing. And I know I've got quite a long way to go to reach what I see in my mind's eye for myself. I'm not going to get there by telling myself what a wonderful job I'm doing ...

Thanks for looking ... sorry it took a couple days to answer this - I never got an email notification.
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Old 06-07-2007, 10:11 PM
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Re: Civil War Portraits - The Series

Quote:
Originally Posted by SparrowHawk7
But if I'm not hard on myself, who will be? I expect perfection from myself .. (I've never reached it but I'll never admit that).
Ken.....I love that line! Mind if I borrow it?
Great works........as usual!
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Old 06-07-2007, 11:54 PM
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Re: Civil War Portraits - The Series

Ken your version is looking much nicer than the ref close up
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Old 06-08-2007, 07:28 AM
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Re: Civil War Portraits - The Series

Thank you Allan. Borrow away ...

Thanks Jim. I'm reasonably pleased with most of it ... there's just this odd overall feeling at this point. I DO hope that when I get more of his face in place that things "feel" better. The really strange part is that outside of the edge of the nose, everything is lining up against the reference quite closely - yet there is something vaguely "wrong" about it. It's GOT to be that other parts of the face play a major role in the overall appearance of the central section. So I'll continue on and we'll see ...

Incidentally, you know who's really responsible for this, don't you? It's Jay for mentioning how all these are showing up quickly - AND that was right before I started this one. Turned out to be a jinx!!!!

(Just kidding ...)

Thanks for looking,
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Old 06-08-2007, 06:42 PM
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Re: Civil War Portraits - The Series

Whatever you decide, your patience and perfectionism is inspiring. Can you share just a tiny bit of it--I get so frustrated and I am just starting with all of this. Your series is so enjoyable, Ken!
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Old 06-08-2007, 09:24 PM
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Re: Civil War Portraits - The Series

Thank you for your kind words, Joane. Drawing can be extremely frustrating and wonderfully rewarding. I've been doing this now for a little over 2 years and during that time I've found that it works for me to expect a bit more of myself with each passing drawing. There is always the risk of failure, but it is also the only way to grow.

I failed in my first attempt at this but I am not ashamed of that. It was a learning experience and it helped me to grow further ... I trust it will be enough to carry me through this second try. No matter how this one turns out, I will be challenging myself somewhat further in my next portrait and that will continue for as long as I draw. I know what I would like to think of myself as far as art is concerned, and one day I hope to reach that place ... it will be many years yet.

I hope any less experienced artists who are watching this thread are able to learn something by watching me do my best with these and perhaps pick up some tricks they can use in their own artwork. And I also hope that if anyone has any questions about my technique that they will speak up and ask.

Thanks for looking,
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Old 06-09-2007, 07:04 PM
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Re: Civil War Portraits - The Series

Well, here's another few hours on this ... the photo came out too contrasty and I couldn't fix it in Photoshop so we'll have to deal with this for now.

Nothing on this is actually finished ... the forehead has no detailing, the far cheek is barely laid in, the hair is a place holder but not finished .. even the near cheek needs a lot of work. This sitting was to get the forehead/hair basically in place to see if this drawing could be saved. And I'm still not sure. It's better and I feel better about it than I did last week, but I don't think it is going to snap into place (if it's going to) until I get the chin/beard done. I will probably try to get the hair more finished and detail the forehead next.

Midge ... this is what I was talking about with blocking in the hair. I used an HB to tone the forelocks in the direction it is combed. From here I will use an eraser and pick out the highlights there, then go at it with a 2B to darken things significantly, then back with the eraser and finally with a 4B to balance tones. Lastly I'll use a sharp 2B (since the hair is quite dark) and define a few individual hairs.

Anyway, it's coming along ...


On June 1, 1864, the Federal Army of the Potomac under General Meade was facing the Army of Northern Virginia under Robt. E. Lee across the rolling fields , nearly exactly where the two armies had fought 2 years earlier. Grant felt a strong push would dislodge the rebels so he ordered an assault for early morning. He had had some success at Spotsylvania Court House by attacking at 4:30am so the same basic plan was adopted. However, troops were late in arriving so the assault was postponed till 5pm on the 2nd and finally set for 4:30am on the 3rd. This gave the rebels over 24 hours to construct defensive trenches at which they were exceptionally proficient.

"Barricades were erected of earth and logs. Artillery was posted with converging fields of fire on every avenue of approach, and stakes were driven into the ground to improve the accuracy of gunners' range estimates. A newspaper correspondent wrote that the works were, "Intricate, zig-zagged lines within lines, lines protecting flanks of lines, lines built to enfilade an opposing line, ... [It was] a maze and labyrinth of works within works."[5] Heavy skirmish lines suppressed any ability of the Union to determine the strength or exact positions of the Confederate entrenchments."

The assault went off on schedule with 31,000 union soldiers advancing through the early morning fog. Within 15 minutes it was all but over. Union dead lay everywhere. Orders to renew the charge were issued around 7am but for the first time, the soldiers simply refused to obey. The armies stayed in the same positions for another week with each side probing for a weakness in the other's defenses. Eventually Grant decided to continue his march south which ended what became known as the Battle of Second Cold Harbor. He suffered about 13,000 casualties that week, over 7000 of them were in that ill advised charge that lasted 15 minutes. In his memoirs written 21 years later, Grant admitted that it had been a terrible mistake to order that particular charge ... it was the last frontal assault he ever did order. Thereafter he eluded Lee by maneuver only.

Thanks for looking,
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Old 06-09-2007, 09:48 PM
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Re: Civil War Portraits - The Series

Thanks Ken. You are a good instructor. Your work is really coming along now. He is looking really good.
Midge
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